Last Saturday, Jan. 30, at the Walsh Center gym, the fifth and sixth and the seventh and eighth grade Gate of Heaven travel teams continued on with their winning ways, as they both cruised to victory against Saint Agatha’s of Milton and Saint Ann’s of Dorchester, respectively. The younger squad has a 9-2 record and is coached by Mark Donovan, while the older boys’ team is 10-2 and is coached by Mike Alessandro and Sean Monahan.
In the fifth and sixth grade game against Saint Agatha’s, Kristin Dhamo netted 14 points while slick and quick guard Conor Strickland scored 12 points. Coach Donovan was proud of his team and the way they continue to play.
“They’re playing like a team should,” Coach Donovan said. “They all contribute and share the ball. I like their unselfish play and this will be good as we head into the CYO playoffs.”
In the seventh and eighth grade game against Saint Ann’s, Jake Harrison led all scorers with 15 points. Marc Iannaco and Bobby Delaney had 8 points each. Jerry Marks had 7 points and 7 rebounds while Zack Mitchell had 6 points and 6 steals. To round out the scoring, Dan Mahoney scored 6 points, Tommy White and Jimmy Dalta had 4 points apiece, and Max Mercer had a deuce.
Like Coach Donovan, Coach Monahan is pleased with the team’s effort on both ends of the court.
“After starting the season losing two of our first three games, we’ve now won nine in a row,” said Coach Monahan, “which includes beating the two teams we lost to early in the year. We’ve been playing tough man to man defense. Much of our offense comes from steals from the defensive end. Last game was no exception. We had 10 steals. We’ve been working on calling out the picks and the help defense which has improved tremendously since the beginning of the season. The last four games, we’ve been a plus 37 in steals to turnover ratio which is a huge advantage for us. If they try to go inside against us, they run into Jerry Marks who’s been leading the team in blocked shots, but last game both Jake Harrison (2) and Tommy White (1) have gotten into the act.
“On the offensive end, we’ve been much more patient,” he added. “Early in the year, we were settling for quick outside shots. Lately we’ve learned to be more patient and have been working on swinging the ball, using the whole court and working on getting shots from inside the paint by hitting the cutter away from the ball. Since we’ve been concentrating on getting inside shots, our field goal percentage is 47 percent, which is excellent at this level. We have three players shooting at or over 50 percent: Zack Mitchell, Jake Harrison and Tommy White. We scored a lot of points (60) against St Ann’s and almost half of them came from our 13 assists. We’ve been successful in getting more players involved in the offense. Against St. Ann’s every player scored. We’ve also improved on our free throws, really a big improvement from the start of the year.”